While there are an endless variety of external batteries on the market capable of charging iOS devices while on the go, two recent entrants at the higher end of the market are giving consumers more options as they consider holiday gifts.

elgato_mophie_batteries

Elgato Smart Power (left) and Mophie Powerstation Plus 2X (right)

The first is Elgato's Smart Power, a 6,000 mAh external battery priced at $99.95. Housed in a compact plastic enclosure that is slightly smaller than and roughly as thick as an Apple TV, Smart Power's key feature is app integration on iOS that allows users to wirelessly monitor charge level of the battery and initiate pinging sounds by the Smart Power unit to help locate it in the house.

Notifications are also an important part of the app integration, with users able to receive push notifications when the battery has been recharged or is running low. Users can also set a specific time for automatic daily power level checks and receive reminder notifications if the charge level is below a user-defined threshold. Finally, users can grant the app access to their Calendar apps, allowing Smart Power to automatically remind users to take the device with them on busy days.

elgato_smart_power_app

Elgato Smart Power app

Offering adaptive charging at up to 2.4 amps and 12 watts, Smart Power can quickly deliver charge to high-capacity devices such as iPads. The device includes an integrated USB connector on a short cable for recharging, but requires a separate cable connecting to a USB port to connect to the device, so users will need to make sure they have one with them when traveling with Smart Power. For those who prefer to quickly check battery level without opening the iOS app, Smart Power also includes battery level lights on the unit itself.

elgato_smart_power_charging

Elgato Smart Power charging an iPhone 6 Plus

Smart Power worked well in our testing, recharging itself and charging devices at a reasonable rate while the notifications and app integration proved very handy for monitoring battery status. The size and shape of the Smart Power made it easy to slip into a bag for traveling, but carrying it in a pocket is a bit more touch-and-go. While the battery is roughly the same width as an iPhone 6 Plus in a thin case (and substantially shorter obviously), the thickness of the device makes it somewhat uncomfortable unless relatively loose-fitting pants are worn. And with a separate Lightning cable also needed, the Smart Power is undoubtedly best suited for carrying in a bag.

A second recent addition to the high-end external battery market is Mophie's Powerstation Plus, which was introduced a few weeks ago in a range of capacities. While Powerstation Plus lacks the handy app integration of the Elgato Smart Power, the multiple capacities and high-quality aluminum covers with hideaway cable management may be appealing to some users, although some may be hesitant to put the aluminum edges in close proximity to their devices.

The smallest Powerstation Plus, known as 2X, is roughly the size of a deck of playing cards and offers 3,000 mAh of charge for $79.95. A thicker 5,000 mAh 3X model is also available for $99.95, and coming soon are even higher capacity models including a 7,000 mAh 4X model for $119.95 and a 12,000 mAh 8X model for $149.95. While substantially larger in size than their smaller siblings, the 4X and 8X models include an additional USB port for charging multiple devices simultaneously.

mophie_powerstation_plus_open

Mophie Powerstation Plus 2X opened to show integrated cables

One significant advantage for the Powerstation Plus over Elgato's Smart Power is an integrated device cable, a short Lightning cable that makes it easy to charge devices on the go without worrying about having a separate cable or getting a longer one tangled. Micro-USB versions will also be available for non-Apple devices, but those do not begin shipping until December 17 and only then with the 2X and 3X variants.

As with the Elgato Smart Power, Mophie's Powerstation Plus offers 2.4-amp adaptive charging and button-activated lighted charge level indicators. And with pass-through priority charging, users can connect the Powerstation Plus and an iOS device in series to a USB port or charging adapter, with the Powerstation Plus allowing the iOS device to fully charge first before charging its own power pack.

mophie_powerstation_plus_charging

Mophie Powerstation Plus 2X charging an iPhone 6 Plus

In our hands-on time with the 2X Powerstation Plus, we found it quite convenient to charge an iPhone while holding both devices in one hand for those times when an extra charge is needed while using the phone on the go. The compact design with hideaway cables is very nice for sticking in a pocket or bag, although at only half the capacity of Elgato's Smart Power, it is unsurprising the Powerstation Plus 2X is less bulky. We do have concerns about the metal covers potentially scratching other items, so it seems best to carry it alone in a pocket or a separate bag compartment unless kept with other non-scratchable items.

The Elgato Smart Power and Mophie Powerstation Plus do not come cheap, but with some good features and well-known brands behind them, they will undoubtedly be popular options with consumers.

Top Rated Comments

rmatthewware Avatar
93 months ago
Or you can get the Poweradd Pilot X5 with 16,000 mAh, two ports than can deliver 2.1A, enough to charge an iPhone and iPad at the same time, for $32.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00DFWRZCG
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dannyyankou Avatar
93 months ago
Anker FTW.

Speaking of which, I was considering getting the Logitech ultrathin for my iPad Air 2, but after reading the reviews for Anker's similar keyboard cover, I may get that instead.

http://www.amazon.com/Bluetooth-Ultra-Slim-Keyboard-Comfortable-Low-Profile/dp/B00HAWW590/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1417578995&sr=8-3&keywords=anker+ipad+keyboard

It's 40% the cost too!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Koodauw Avatar
93 months ago
I think these reviews from MR are pointless, but I do love that all the members come in and say 'here is a much better product or deal.' Thanks for the posts everyone!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dephibio Avatar
93 months ago
And I've just bought Xiaomi Power Bank with 5000 mAh for $18. Nice design, good performance and ridiculous price! :D
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shadow Runner Avatar
93 months ago
These are stupidly overpriced for their mah ratings, don't care what kind of gimmick feature is included.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...
iOS 15

Everything New in iOS 15.4 and iPadOS 15.4: Face ID With a Mask, Emojis, Apple Card Widget, Universal Control and More

Thursday January 27, 2022 12:08 pm PST by
Apple today seeded the first betas of iOS 15.4, iPadOS 15.4 to developers for testing purposes, adding a slew of new features to the latest iOS operating systems. iOS 15.4 is the biggest update that we've had to iOS 15 to date, and it brings Universal Control, Face ID with a mask, new emojis, and tons more. Face ID With a Mask With iOS 15.4, there is now an option to unlock your iPhone...
mobeewave

Upcoming iOS Update Will Allow iPhones to Accept Credit Cards Directly Using NFC

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:00 pm PST by
Apple is working on a new payments service that will allow iPhones to accept payments directly on device with no additional hardware, reports Bloomberg. Right now, iPhones can accept credit cards with add-ons like the Square Reader, but Apple's new technology will eliminate the need for a third-party product. Individuals and small businesses will be able to accept payments with the tap of a...
macOS Monterey on MBP Feature

Apple Releases macOS Monterey 12.2 With Safari Vulnerability Fix

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:19 am PST by
Apple today released macOS Monterey 12.2, the second major update to the macOS Monterey update that launched in October. macOS Monterey 12.2 comes over a month after the release of the 12.1 update, which brought SharePlay support. The ‌‌‌macOS Monterey 12.2‌‌ update can be downloaded on all eligible Macs using the Software Update section of System Preferences. Apple has also...